Staying Positive in the Midst of Negativity

Have you ever been so excited about a new adventure in your life that you wanted to shout it from the rooftops, or at least tweet about it?

Me too.

You’ve waited for an opportunity. You’ve prayed about it. You told your friends about it. Then you waited for it to happen.

The day finally comes and the opportunity you’ve been seeking happens. You’re overjoyed, thrilled beyond words, feeling blessed, and super excited to share with the world.

But something strange happens when you share the news. Someone quickly rains on your parade and all of a sudden the exciting news isn’t so exciting anymore.

Have you been there?

I recently received some great news regarding an opportunity I had been hoping for. After I shared with a few close friends and my mom, of course, I shared it with some others.

That’s when the rain started coming down. My celebration abruptly stopped after the somber reply to my good news. Quickly it had turned from celebration to sadness.

For a brief moment I started to feel the sadness myself, but then quickly realized I was taking on the emotions of another person and losing focus on the reasons I had to count my blessings.

Renewing Our Minds

I didn’t write off his feelings of sadness, but I didn’t soak in them either. Instead, I acknowledged his feelings and then encouraged him

I made the decision to focus on the many others that celebrated with me versus the one that didn’t. My mood was better for it.

It’s so easy to get in the habit of allowing others to dictate our feelings. If someone is sad, we often begin to feel sad. The same goes for anger, bitterness, and many other emotions.

The Bible gives us instructions on how to renew our mind. It’s just a matter of putting it into action – something I’m still trying to make happen.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2

There’s an old SNL skit called “Debbie Downer” played by Rachel Dratch. Debbie and her family members sit around the table making small talk. Through each piece of conversation, Debbie Downer manages to find something negative to throw into the mix, followed by a “wah-wah” sound and a muted trombone.

The mood in the room eventually matches that of Dratch’s character and soon everyone becomes a downer.

Though the skit was hilarious, the truth behind it isn’t. The truth is if we’re not renewing our minds, we’ll eventually conform to the patterns of those Debbie Downer’s in our lives.

Thinking on Such Things

If you put me on a deserted island and I had the choice of two books, I’d pick the Bible first and Tommy Newberry’s book, The 4:8 Principle, second.

In Newberry’s book, he teaches the principles of renewing your mind. He reminds us to think on things that are lovely, pure, admirable, praiseworthy, and excellent.

You can’t think 4:8 thoughts and be a Debbie Downer at the same time. (Tweet that)

He didn’t have to go far to do the research on the power of thinking on such things. Philippians 4:8-9 is pretty clear.

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Take a conscious look at those around you. Do they lift you up or bring you down? Do you walk away from them feeling better or do they wear you out? If yes, to the latter I recommend pulling the tooth as quickly as possible, or at least decreasing the amount of time you spend with them.

You’ll be better for it, and so will those around you.

How have you had to deal with the Debbie Downer’s in your life? Leave a comment below…

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  • Sundi Jo,

    Great post! I had the same thing happen to me several years ago. When some really great things happened to me, a few friends weren’t so happy for me. The Lord had to teach me to surround myself with only people who celebrate me.

    I think you are awesome and I am SO HAPPY for all the great things that are happening in your life. You shine! Keep up the great work.

    Amy von Borstel

    • Thanks so much Amy. I really appreciate your words of encouragement.

  • Oh man…I’ve had to deal with so many of those. Honestly, it’s been something I’ve fought over the last few years because I allowed them to get to me. It’s been hard to drown out the negativity especially when it’s from people you love most.

    • Ya, I get it. Sometimes we have to “pull the tooth” even it’s only temporary.

  • It’s nice when you can walk away. I totally agree, but there are times when you’re in a situation you can’t walk away from and in those cases it is best to take a deep, deep breath and ask God for help 🙂